“Take a look down here, for instance,” Zeppy went on. He pointed to an area directly below us where a series of transparent machines were connected by what seemed to be a glowing tube of pure energy. “What you’re looking at,” he said, “is how we add meat, so to speak, to the skeleton of each blade. We start with a pre-formed core made in another part of the plant to guarantee structural integrity. Then, in a series of steps, ceramic-, metal-, and carbon-nanoparticles are digitally sprayed onto the core. It’s similar to the additive 3D printing processes we were working on before your accident, but thousands of times more precise – and effortless to individualize to the customer’s needs. The result is an abrasion-resistant crystalline atomic structure that’s great for burning the pure hydrogen gas produced by wind- and solar-powered electrolyzers.”
“So the famous hydrogen economy finally arrived!” I exclaimed.
“Exactly,” said Zeppy. “And our manufacturing technology for high-temperature blades made it possible. But there’s more,” he added. “During this process, microscopic sensors are laser-embedded throughout the blades, allowing each blade to deliver continuous information about its condition throughout its lifetime. Finally, to avoid micro deformations and materials contamination, the blades pass from machine to machine not on a conveyer belt, but in a powerful magnetic field that also functions as a continuous inspection system.”
“I’m starting to see the light,” I said. “But how do parts and products get in and out?”
“Almost everything’s underground,” said Zeppy. “Materials are piped in. We’re talking very specialized powders. Finished products are shipped out via pneumatic pipes to a distribution center.”
“And localized repairs and components – can customers do that kind of thing on their own now?” I asked.
“Oh, of course,” said Zeppy. “If a blade needs resurfacing, for instance, the utility operator’s robotic systems will add a layer of whatever material is needed on the spot. And they can manufacture new components locally as well. What’s more, if they come up with new ideas through their own co-creation…”
Noticing a movement from the corners of our eyes, we looked up. Only a few meters away stood a large, gray wolf, it’s sharp, white teeth glistened in the morning sunlight. I froze in fear. “Not to worry,” said Zeppy. “It’s only one of our bionic security systems. It recognizes me.”
“And me?” I asked, as a hair-raising growl began to issue from the beast’s throat.
“That could be a problem,” said Zeppy.